Micky Dolenz is, without question, the most unpredictable Monkee, always fooling around and making people laugh and doing wierdo [sic] things. And it’s this fantastic character of his that has done so much to boost the boys to international stardom.
So, it’s obviously unfair to expect Micky to behave like any ordinary mortal. He’s fun to be with, crazy to talk to… but he sometimes forgets exactly what he has to do next. Which is how I came to be waiting for simply AGES for him to come through on a previously arranged phone call from the States.
When the bell DID finally interrupt my slumbers with that clanging alarm-call, and we were connected, he launched straight into what he regarded as a complete explanation. It went somethin’ like this…
“Hi Jackie. This is me. Your friendly neighbourhood Monkee. It’s Micky. YOU remember, don’t you? Now I’m calling you. But first do me a favour. Tell me what the time is. Now tell me what day it is. What week? Let’s see—what was I going to talk about?”
Which is Micky’s own individual way of creating a state of confusion so that you end up not sure exactly whose fault it was that the phone-call came through so late.
Me: Somebody told me, Micky, that you’ve been redecorating your home again. Seems to me you change the decor roughly every couple of months. True?
“Not quite as often as that, but I keep getting these crazy ideas and I’ve just gotta try them out. Sure the interior decoration has been switched around, but that was necessary simply because I’ve had the whole place pretty well torn apart.
“Like I’ve had a platform built about six feet high to take my bed. So, when I want to go to sleep I have to go up a flight of steps. It’s kinda groovy, being so high up in bed. Of course I have to be careful about having nightmares—if I actually fell out of bed it’d be rather like making a parachute jump without a parachute.
“Oh yeah, out back we’ve built a patio, which I can get to through a glass door leading from the bedroom. It’s all looking great out there, what with the swimming pool and so on. The pool is handy these days when the temperature is way up in the eighties and when I get back from a day’s filming. It’s a kidney-shaped pool, about fifteen feet by thirty… just big enough for the gang to have a paddle around in when they come visiting. It’s finished in all-black, of course.”
Me: Why ALL black? And why OF COURSE all black?
Micky (laughing uproariously): “Sorry, I had one of my spasms then. Well, what can I say. I just decided it must be black, that’s all. No special reason. I just figured it’d make it look like no other swimming pool I’ve ever seen. I don’t know. Maybe I was in a black mood, or somethin’. I guess there’s just NO reason at all. Course it’s pretty easy to fall in if you go out wandering around there at midnight…
“But I’ve also got a great idea about how to get even more fun out of the pool. What I want is to build a massive long slide way back of the patio, way out in the furthest part of the garden. Then I’ll be able to climb right up to the top of the slide, way in the far distance, and then slide about one hundred yards and end up with a massive splash in the pool. Kinda like the water-splash at a fairground only you don’t sit in a car you sit upon your very own sit-upon. Get the idea?”
Me: Okay Micky, I give up. It’s a great idea… if it works.
“Well, there’s the problem. I’ve suggested the plans to the builders and right now they’ve been working out whether it is practicable. But they sure haven’t turned the idea down yet.
“My pals think it’s groovy, anyway. Say we’ve had some great parties here in the house in recent weeks. Since I last talked to you ‘cross the Atlantic, I’ve been buying up a lot of records by Otis Redding and Tim Buckley. It was a great shame, a tragedy, that Otis got killed in that air crash—he was a great performer and boy! did he make some great records. But Tim Buckley is very much with us… in fact he’s very much with you, I understand. I think he went visiting in London a few days ago, doing promotional work on his new records.
“If you see him, say hello to him. But if you don’t I can fill you in with some details on him—’cos I’ve got one of his LP’s here and if I turn the lights up a bit I can read the sleeve notes.
“Says here that he was always the young poet and that he used to work as a baby-sitter for employees at Disneyland. Then he got hung up on Country music, taught himself to play the banjo, then dropped out of college almost as soon as he got in. And he used to work on shows with the Mothers of Invention, and in the Troubadour in Los Angeles, which is where I recall Peter Tork also worked.”
Me: You sound a bit like a Press Agent, Micky.
“Well, I think this guy is just great ’n’ groovy and I want other people to know about him. English guys like Eric Clapton have been to see him work while they’ve been in America and I understand he’s already got a pretty solid following among your musicians.”
Me: How’s Sammy Juste getting on in the States?
“Well, Sammy is just fine and very busy and enjoying herself in America. Actually she’s going to open an antique shop and boutique in Hollywood—she hasn’t found just the right place yet, but she’s rushing around like crazy getting things organised and tied up. What I’m hoping is that we can get away when we’ve finished filming, and before she gets too involved in her business interests, and maybe go to Mexico again.
“We’ve been out filming in Palm Desert, and there the temperature went up to 110 degrees, so when we got back to this part of the world where it’s only 80 degrees I almost felt cold.”
Me: When will we see you over here again, Micky?
“Look, we almost certainly will do a summer tour, once we’ve had a bit of a holiday. And believe me England will be on the schedule because, as you know, we’re all knocked out with your country and with the fans there. Don’t you forget now, tell all your readers that we miss ’em like mad—and Sammy also asked me to make sure I passed on her love to all her old friends from back home.
“I’m sure we’ll be with you before the end of the year. But much as I’d love to answer another question we get asked a lot, I can’t. That’s a breakdown on what the movie is all about. You see, there’s a lot of surprises included in the script and if we told all right now, those surprises wouldn’t come off. Just let’s say: please be patient, folks, and believe us we’re having a ball making it. And TV plans are a shade uncertain, too. Could be we’ll be doing three one-hour spectaculars… but I’d much rather give you the REAL news when it’s confirmed.”
Me: Seriously, Micky, thanks a lot for taking all this time and trouble to talk to me.
“It’s a pleasure, Jackie. You know that. And, also seriously, I didn’t mean to be late with the call. I just kinda got tied up—and nobody came along to UNtie me until it was too late! Don’t forget what I said about passing on our thanks to all the fans.”
And with a click, Micky was gone. And the night seemed, suddenly, very quiet indeed.